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Capitol Health Call
June 8, 2005

Preparing for Flu Season

JAMA. 2005;293(22):2709. doi:10.1001/jama.293.22.2709-a

The federal government’s top health agencies told members of a US House subcommittee that they will recommend vaccination only for high-risk US residents when the upcoming influenza season begins. Access will be broadened to the general public only after the agencies are certain that high-risk residents are ensured the vaccine, officials told the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on May 4.

The subcommittee members said they wanted to avoid the situation that arose during the 2004-2005 flu season when the manufacturer (Chiron Corp, Emeryville, Calif) of roughly half the vaccination supply for the United States was forced to stop production due to contamination at its England plant. Panic among consumers regarding the abrupt cut in supply led to temporary shortages of the vaccine followed by a surplus as concerns subsided and a relatively moderate flu season unfolded.

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